Follow TV Tropes


Video Game / In Sound Mind

Go To
Don't look to me, I ain't right...

"It's funny, really... when you're scared... I mean, when you're really terrified of the monster stalking you, watching you, pushing you over the edge into an ocean of fear... losing your mind feels like the sensible thing to do."
Gamescom 2020 trailer

In Sound Mind is a first person psychological Survival Horror game developed by We Create Stuff (the creators of Nightmare House) and published by Modus Games, with a soundtrack composed by The Living Tombstone.

Dr. Desmond Wales, an accomplished therapist, wakes up with amnesia in the basement of a strange apartment building. Soon after, the environment takes on a life of it's own and leads him to discover a series of victims, all exposed to the same experimental chemical. In his search for answers, bizarre visions emerge and introduce a host of imposing horrors... and a cat named Tonia.

A demo for the game was released in late 2020. The full game was released on September 28, 2021.

This game provides examples of:

  • Anti-Frustration Features: When replaying a Tape after finishing it, you can exit the level and return to your office at any time.
  • Bag of Spilling: Downplayed when replaying levels. To avert Sequence Breaking, any equipment that is part of that level's progression, such as the Glass Shard for Tape 1 or the Flare Gun for Tape 2, will not be with you when you enter it. Exiting the level before re-acquiring it will give it back, plus any ammo you had before you entered.
  • Bullfight Boss: Done literally with Max Nygaard's personal demon, The Bull. It takes the shape of a massive cow skull made out of truck parts, and fights almost exclusively by attempting to ram you.
  • Bungled Suicide: Allen's attempt to burn himself to death in a lighthouse fire ends up being this, assuming that was his intention. As far as Desmond knows, he's still alive and recovering from his burns at a hospital.
  • Cast Full of Crazy: Perhaps unsurprising for a game starring a therapist, almost every character in the game has some sort of mental issue, including Desmond himself. However, they are all portrayed sympathetically and have legitimate reasons for being the way they are. The main reason being exposure to a dangerous chemical that exacerbates their existing mental illnesses into outright instability.
  • Creator In-Joke: After suffering near-fatal burns, Allen Shore is admitted to Never Lose Hope Hospital. A work van officially belonging to the hospital in Tape 4 confirms the reference—complete with teleporting mannequin.
  • Cute Ghost Girl: Despite her scars and clear desire to not be seen, Virginia is quite easy on the eyes when her mask breaks off and she stops trying to kill you.
  • Dead All Along: Tonia, Desmond's cat, was killed long before the game's events from exposure to Agent Rainbow.
  • Don't Look At Me: Virginia does not like people looking at her, to the point that the Watcher, her ghost form, will attempt to outright murder Desmond if she catches him looking at her. This stems from an accident in her childhood that ended up permanently scarring her face, leaving her with crippling social anxiety.
  • Eldritch Location: Desmond's apartment building. On top of being in the middle of a flooded city, it somehow gives him access to his former paients' apartments, despite none of them actually living there.
  • Enemy Within: Agent Rainbow is this for Desmond, as the personification of the chemical strengthening his insecurities.
  • The Faceless: Almost every human character is this, due to being either dead or mutated by the time the game happens. The exception is Desmond, ironically, as you can get a picture of him from a photo booth at Homa Mart.
  • Gone Horribly Wrong: Desmond advises Virginia to work through her social anxiety by shopping at Homa-Mart as a form of "exposure therapy". Virginia goes through a nervous breakdown that culminates in her killing herself with the shard of a broken mirror. If the man on the phone is to be believed, this isn't the only time Desmond's advice backfired.
    • As it turns out, this likely wasn't Desmond's fault, but Agent Rainbow's due to the chemical pushing Virginia's already precarious mental state into the red.
  • Grimy Water: Setting foot in any body of water, even if it's only ankle-deep, will slow Desmond down, blur his vision, and eventually start dealing damage. As it turns out, the entire water table of Milton Haven is heavily contaminated with Agent Rainbow.
  • Hated by All: Max Nygaard, whose temper and implied abusive behavior towards his wife did little to endear him to the people around him. Tonia and Agent Rainbow both think he's a nutcase, and the fact that they're both figments of Desmond's imagination implies that Desmond isn't very fond of him either. He does genuinely love his daughter, though.
    • However, making sure to read most of Max's notes and listening to his Vinyl containing the song "Is It Me?" makes it clear Max is aware of this and genuinely has trouble controlling himself, even if he would like to. Tonia will also Throw the Dog a Bone and muse that "Max wasn't really a bad guy , he just let things consume him". She evens hums a few bars of his song.
  • Image Song: Every voiced character with the exception of Agent Rainbow gets one of these, in the form of a collectable vinyl record that can be listened to in your office. Even Desmond himself gets one.
  • Inkblot Test:
    • The non-boss enemies are themed around this test, being person-shaped masses of ink with massive glowing eyes.
    • Hidden in every patient's apartment is a transcript of Desmond performing one of these with them. The final inkblot for each patient looks distinctly similar to their level's resident boss, and causes the patient either immense distress or an inexplicable sense of power.
  • Kick the Dog: Agent Rainbow already has a well-established hatred of Desmond, but he crosses from simple Jerkass to an outright monster by mocking Virginia's suicide just to spite Desmond.
    Agent Rainbow: Cleanup on aisle 4! Someone get a mop... and a better therapist.
  • Light Is Not Good: Allen's tape has a lighthouse that emits a bright red light that hurts Desmond if he doesn't get behind cover. And then he faces said light as a boss fight.
  • Murderous Mannequin: They're all over the place in Homa-Mart, and some even move around when you're not looking. That said, the ones that do move actually seem to be trying to help you, giving you keys to new areas or, on one occasion, giving you a boost.
  • Mysterious Watcher: Desmond spots a strange, deformed man in a fedora watching him at several points in the demo. The full game reveals him to be Agent Rainbow, the same man who taunts you over the phone.
  • Not That Kind of Doctor: After Max, a patient with anger issues, impatiently tells Desmond to give him whatever pills he was going to prescribe so he can leave, Desmond tells him that as a therapist, he's not legally allowed to give medication.
  • Or Was It a Dream?: One of Allen's notes implies that he witnessed Virginia's suicide, and couldn't tell if it was one of his nightmares or not.
  • Past Experience Nightmare: The premise of every tape with the exception of the final one. Allen and Cole's tapes go even further, flashing back to the perspective of a crewman aboard the crashing USS Thanatos and Cole's memories of a catastrophic bombing he was victim to during the Vietnam War, respectively.
  • Rage Against the Reflection: Virginia, aka The Watcher, absolutely hates mirrors. The goal of the supermarket section is to lure her into breaking all of the mirrors in the store. Aside from general hatred of her scarred face, she got her scars in the first place when she slipped and pulled her mirror down on herself. She would later break another mirror during her meltdown at Homa-Mart, before using the shards to commit suicide.
  • Rudely Hanging Up: The full game gives you an achievement for hanging up on Agent Rainbow mid-sentence.
  • Stop Poking Me!: Tonia will complain if you spend too much time petting her.
  • Weakened by the Light: The Shade, Allen's monster form, is burned by light and goes out of its way to avoid it. Ironic, considering that Allen was afraid of the dark. Desmond "defeats" it by luring it to the top of the lighthouse and activating it.